Inside a book that contains the whole universe


My first perception of Borges is Borges himself. In other words: I see Borges. Let me explain. I must be nine or ten and I’m walking my uncle, who’s in his twenties, along the pedestrian Calle Florida in Buenos Aires. I say that I’m walking my uncle because my uncle is blind. My uncle hoped to become a great painter. During his adolescence he’d won important scholarships and prizes, but he went blind from juvenile diabetes, and at this point – he doesn’t know it, but he senses it – he has two or three or four years left to live. So we’re walking and suddenly someone says, ‘There’s Borges,’ and I look and I see Borges and I say to my uncle, ‘There’s Borges.’ Borges is coming toward us and he, too, is on the arm of a friend or a fan and then my blind uncle – who was the humorous type, wickedly funny – shouts ‘Borges! How are you? You look great.’ And Borges turns his unseeing gaze on the precise spot from which the voice of my blind uncle issues and reaches him and the two of them look at each other without seeing each other, and there I am, in between, unable to believe what I’m seeing.

more from Rodrigo Fresán at Granta here.